Firstly, I want to say I love the Barefoot Investor and his approach. We need more Scott Pape’s not less.
But from my experience in finance and Fintech’s is that the Barefoot Investor’s approach only reaches around 20% of the audience – the confident consumer. What we need is an approach which reaches the other 80%. There is a world of pain out there and the stats are alarming:
- Almost 2 million Australians who exhibit at least one “problematic debt indicator”, such as being in arrears on their repayments or never being able to clear the debt.
- The Salvation Army’s financial counselling service, Moneycare, warned it was at breaking point. In the 2017-18 financial year, Moneycare saw an 18 per cent increase in Australians seeking help.
- The portion of homeowners between ages 55 and 64 that owe money on mortgages has tripled since 1990 – from 14% to 47%.
These Australians badly need help and they currently have no one to turn to. One of the key stats coming out of the Royal Commission was:
“The Productivity Commission recently observed that 48% of Australian adults indicated having unmet financial advice needs.”
Why isn't The Barefoot Investor the only answer?
A lot of people have cognitive demanding jobs and that’s not just white-collar jobs. It’s all the trades as well. You’ve got to think about what you are doing. It’s hard mental labour. Then you get home and have to deal with partner, kids, family, etc.
What are you going to do when you finally get some alone time? Read about budgeting? Hell no. Watch a discovery channel documentary? No, we watch “Married at First Sight”. We just want to escape. There is not enough time in the day.
What do we do about it?
Strangely, it all starts with connection, real human connection. I’ve learned that technology or a book can’t solve the problem alone. In fact, it’s technology that makes it far worse for most of us.
In this digital age technology is making us less “connected”. Just today I read that 27.6% of people say they feel lonely at least three days every week. We are less connected with ourselves, with nature and with others. The less connected we are the more likely we are to use a coping mechanism like spending (spending gives you the same endorphin rush as eating dark chocolate), food, drugs, etc.
So what do we need?
Connection is the first step but we also need a few more things:
- A little bit of help (and a little bit of knowledge)
We all need accountability to keep us honest. There is a reason people floss more before they go to the dentist. Someone will be looking at their teeth!
And we all need a little bit of help and knowledge. And it isn’t another blog, book or app. It’s actually someone to talk to. Someone we trust who will listen to our questions and not judge us. We need someone to take all the information and turn it into useful actionable knowledge.